A Hive of People Helping a Young Queen Bee

If you’re reading this publication, you probably think that bees are awesome. If you’ve been around the beekeeping community very long, you likely think it is also fairly awesome. We tend to be a very connecting, supportive, enthusiastic group of people sharing a common passion.

That was recently demonstrated through Natalie Abbott’s Kickstarter project. Natalie, age 13, is a beekeeper in Wisconsin and founder of West Hill Honey Company. She started beekeeping as a 4-H project when she was in fourth grade. This seventh grader is still keeping them, with an expanding apiary (now about 15 hives), a growing bee spokesperson role, and thanks to the generous support of people from around the world, the equipment to process and sell her highly desired all-natural honey.

In August of 2012, Natalie launched a project on Kickstarter, seeking funds to convert a household room into a dedicated honey room, complete with an uncapper, extractor, and bottling tanks. Kickstarter is a funding platform where people describe their projects, and readers contribute if they so desire. Since Kickstarter’s launch in 2009, this innovative company has seen over $350 million pledged, by more than 2.5 million people, to fund more than 30,000 creative projects. You can read her complete appeal for funds at the website noted in the footnote.

Extracting is hard work, especially without automation, and especially if you’re slight in build and lacking the muscles to hoist, manipulate and move everything easily. There were other challenges beyond the physicality—such as having to borrow equipment.

The beekeeping and bee-loving community answered. Over $9,000 was pledged to Natalie’s project, greatly exceeding the $6,370 she had requested.

Through selling honey at farmers’ markets, speaking to classes and the 4-H Club, and sticking with the hard-working job of beekeeping, Natalie is a great representative for the benefits of local, pure honey and the critical need for bees. She said she enjoys all the dimensions of beekeeping—watching a colony thrive, harvesting and selling honey, talking with others and getting them excited … but her favorite part is “the wonderful smell of the hive when you first open it.”

The Walter T. Kelley Company is proud to have helped Natalie’s efforts with a contribution.

The same rewards for various levels of donations as outlined in the Kickstarter link will be honored.

Natalie hopes to expand the number of hives this year and is also hoping to buy a couple of smaller bee suits so that she can involve some of the younger 4-H members and get them interested in beekeeping.

If you’re moved by this story and want to contribute, contributions may still be made to Natalie’s Paypal account, thekids@abbotts.org,
or by mail: Natalie Abbott, 711 West Central Street, Chippewa Falls, WI 54729

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